Why It's Time to Think Differently About Purpose

A few weeks ago I was reading a post written by Sean Lowe (oh, hello former Bachelor cutie) about an interview Ellen Degeneres did with UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.
After losing a fight that would strip away her undefeated status, Rousey admitted that she felt suicidal. She said seeing her boyfriend reminded her of her greater purpose in life, which is to have his babies someday. If you haven’t seen the interview, check it out here.
Lowe wrote about his hopes for Rousey to find her true identity—one that is beyond a title that rests purely on a child’s shoulders.
While I think that it is incredible that in Rousey’s lowest moment, she felt a call to something greater that inevitably helped pull her from despair, I also know that Lowe is completely on point.

When our purpose in the world is dependent on others or titles (Best UFC Fighter in the World, Mom, Manager, Wife, Writer, etc.) we end up putting an unfair amount of pressure on ourselves.    

Our purpose has to be greater than this.    
We have to have a deeper meaning in life that is not dependent on titles or other people. Sure, aspirations such as becoming a doctor, singer, teacher, mom, writer, etc. are all great.

Why does it matter? What message will you communicate through those titles or roles? What core values will drive how you live your life, with-OR-without the title/role?  When we shift gears by knowing our answers to these questions, we can tap into our greater purpose.   
This is no easy task. Growing up, I have vivid memories of wanting to be a teacher and a mom “when I grow up.” We are primed as children to think that having titles and roles equates to success and purpose in life. 
I get why we do this. As a former teacher myself, it makes absolute sense why our culture does this as it creates drive and motivation for children as they transition to adulthood.
But what happens when you can’t pass the teacher exam? Or you can’t have a baby? Or you haven’t found your soul mate? 

If your worth in the world is dependent on titles and roles, you are setting yourself for massive disappointment when things do not go as planned. 

You might think you aren’t good enough or that something’s wrong with you. And this right here is FALSE my friend. You are greater than what you have and don’t have.

You are greater than your wins and losses.

Don’t be somebody who plays life small and bases your incredible worth on a role or title. You, my friend, are greater than that.




My Top 5 Daily Mantras

A few years back I started a daily activity that has radically changed how I do my day and I want to share it with you today.

I learned it while doing morning yoga. At the end of our practice, we were encouraged by our instructor to set an intention for the day. Eventually our instructor moved locations and I immediately felt her absence. While I missed her hippie vibe (hairy armpits, included!) it was really the simple act of setting an intention for the day that I missed.

So, I decided to do my own morning yoga where I worked this little practice in!  Even though I don’t always have time for yoga, there is one thing I always have time for—and that’s setting an intention for my day. 

It’s pretty simple actually.  I take a minute to close my eyes and just say in my mind how I want to do my day.  

Here are My Top 5 daily mantras:

1. I will be present in my mind and body today.
2. I will fully give myself to others in conversations.
3. I will be loving and kind.
4. I will take good care of me today.
5. I will talk kindly to myself and others throughout the day.

When I was a super busy gal commuting back and forth for two-plus hours daily at my old job, I would do this in the car.  Other times, I would say it while drinking a cup of coffee at my desk. Today, I take a couple of minutes to stretch in the morning and set my intention then. 

How can you incorporate setting an intention into your day?

Where in your day do you have a few moments to yourself to be intentional? 

You’ll hear me say this often, but it takes around 21 days for a new habit to stick.  So, how can you make this part of your routine?  If you need to create a reminder in your phone asking you what your intention is for the day, do it.  Put a post-it note by your computer at your office.  Change your screen saver on your laptop with a quote that reminds you to set an intention. 

Do what is best for you.

3 Steps to Keep Your Calm When Your Buttons Get Pushed

Recently I attended a workshop led by my dear friend and colleague Beth Racine. She presented on the topic of effective listening to a room filled with around 50 men and women ranging in all ages.
The overall gist of her presentation was all about keeping your composure when your buttons get pushed. 

Think about the last time someone pushed your buttons.

Where were you and what was happening? How did you feel in the moment? For me, an immediate flash takes me back to last week as I was inside a home my husband and I are considering buying, when I looked outside to find an officer writing up a ticket on my car for parking on the street! How about that for a warm welcome to a new neighborhood? You can imagine the tightness I felt rise up in my chest as it took all that I had to not run out screaming like a crazy person.
Can you think of a similar moment when your buttons were pushed? Maybe it was with a colleague, significant other, family member, or a complete stranger on the street? Once you got it, hold onto it.
Our initial reaction when we are feeling frustrated is to either fight or flight. We either go into attack mode or completely shut down and walk away. This is totally normal. That’s because when we feel an immediate threat, which is sensed in our brain stems, we go into a state of survival. For me, this was that moment I looked out the window and saw the officer by my car. For the record, I decided to fight, as I swiftly headed over to the officer.
After the fight or flight response, we enter into the emotional part of the brain—the limbic system. This is where we react. [Cue the part of me that wanted to scream like a crazy person.]
Lastly, the frontal lobe, or pre-frontal cortex is our rational part of the brain. Beth described how in this part of our brains we think clearly, discern choices, access creativity and problem solve with others. As you can imagine, this is where we react with the most intention and respond in a way that helps us feel good about what we are wanting. This is precisely why after some time has passed we can more effectively react and listen.
The good news is we can access this rational part of our brains in about 6 seconds.
That’s right. Only 6 seconds! But the problem is that we are wired to fight or flight first and react in the emotional part of our brains. Both of these parts by the way, are very “self” and “me” focused. Our rational parts, however, are more “we” focused as we attempt to work with others.
So, the key here, is to create some space, roughly 6 seconds of space, to pause and react effectively. This is important as we interact with others so that we avoid jumping to conclusions, acting out of character, or creating tension so that we can maintain a calm, centered space.
I’ll leave you with my favorite take-away from the workshop on how to create this space. It’s a coaching tool Beth calls 3-2-1. 

Here’s how it works:

1. Pay attention to the signs your body is giving you. 

Is it a hotness in your chest? Do you feel a tightness in your throat? Do you feel flushed in the face? Notice it because that’s the signal you are about to act a hot mess. As soon as you notice these “check engine lights” as Beth affectionately calls them, you can practice 3-2-1. 

2. In your mind, state 3 things you see, 2 things you hear, and 1 thing to say out loud.

I recommend identifying the word you will say right now to start getting in the habit of this exercise. My word is “LOVE.” It is a reminder to respond from a place of love and understanding, which I am NOT experiencing while in the fight or flight and emotional state, so that once those 6 seconds pass and I'm in my rational mind I can react more effectively.

3.Reflect and repeat! 

It is very important to get into a rhythm of reflecting on our behavior. How do you feel after engaging in an uncomfortable chat with someone? How do you feel about your behavior, or personal response? It is all information for us moving forward so we can show up with even more intention for the next encounter.
So, let’s get out there and try it. Surprise the people in your life next time by responding mindfully with some emotional control. While we can’t control how others will respond to us, we can maintain the peace on our ends and feel better about how WE respond. 

How to Deal with Comparison in a Positive, Self-Loving Way

I have been seeing a lot of the hashtag #DoYou lately and have to admit I’m a fan. I love a message that encourages us to keep our eyes on our own page. Yet, what I find ironic (CUE a little Alanis here…) is that it’s a hashtag leading us to other social media pages, which begs a game of comparison. 

The comparison game doesn’t just exist on social media. It shows up in unexpected ways in our everyday life. But like any game, we can play strategically.  

Comparison doesn’t have to be a negative thing.

Here’s my challenge for you. When you're perusing Facebook or Instagram & find yourself thinking about what you don’t have or don’t do—you know, playing a good old game of comparison—take a moment & think about the flip side. The flip side is you tapping into YOUR interests, YOUR wants, YOUR desires, YOUR truths. It is you seeking more information about what you are craving & wanting in your life. It is using a moment of comparison to learn more about what you innately might be craving.

So let’s play for a minute. You see a photo and find yourself thinking the following:

"I don't have enough money."

What's the flip side? Maybe it's something like, "I will get serious about how much money I actually need. I'll create a financial plan & stick to it."

"I don't have time to travel."

What's the flip side? "I'm craving more adventure. I'll plan a day trip to somewhere new."

"I don't do yoga."

What's the flip side? "So I don't do yoga. But I DO do hair flips & dance parties. I'll call a friend & take a Zumba class."

Let's use the comparison game to understand ourselves more. I’ll be playing this week too over on Instagram & would love for you to join me. Use the hashtag #DoYou & tag me in your post.